A few months ago I posted a photo of a carved stone here and on Facebook, hoping to find more information about it.

Now a commenter thinks this may be Diwani script, and compares it to the medallions on Hagia Sofia in Turkey. (image credit: wikipedia; more images here and here.)

There isn’t too much on the web about this script.  The wikipedia articleis brief, and the same phrases are copied over and over about the web.  Everyone seems to agree the script was developed during the reign of the early Ottoman Turks (16th century – early 17th century), invented by either Housam Roumi or the accomplished calligrapher Ibrahim Munif in the late 15th century from the Turkish/Persian Ta’liq (okay,  maybe not complete agreement), reached its height of popularity under Süleyman I the Magnificent (1520-1566) (or perhaps in the 17th century, thanks to the famous calligrapher Shala Pasha), and is still used as a decorative script.

There are two types of diwani. Riq`a Diwani is a straight script, undotted, with no vowel marks. This type of diwani is exemplified by the caligraphy of Mohammad Ezzat, the great Ottoman calligrapher who wrote the characters short and compressed (Muqarmatah) and the work of Ghuzlan, the Egyptian calligrapher, who wrote letters in more extended way. Contemporary calligraphers known for their Deewani are  Adnan As-Saikh Othman, Farouk Haddad and NasserAl-Maymoon.

There is also a more ornamental form of Deewani called Deewani Jali or Humayuni (Imperial).  Deewani Jali was invented by Hafiz Uthman. (If anyone is counting, that’s three inventors so far.)  “The spaces between the letters are spangled with decorative devices which do not necessarily have any orthographic value.” [source.] Contemporary calligraphers in this style are Adnan As-Saikh Othman, Farouk Haddad, and Khaled As-Sa`ee.

Here are some website with some examples of diwani script. This one has several examples, but not translated, and with copyright notices all over the place. This one has words like love, peace, and freedom done in the script.  Here are two examples by Farouk Haddad. And of course you can always do an image search to get a fast impression of many images.

[Of course the information obtained on Facebook may still turn out to be correct.  John Emerson wrote, “I saw the movie. You will be taken over by an evil spirit and exorcism will be required..”]


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